Police raid LA MSS headquarters

Doping-related items taken into evidence

By Monika Prell

Judicial Police, the Portuguese criminal investigation department, has raided the headquarters of the cycling team LA MSS. The department confiscated doping substances, medications, equipment to conduct blood transfusions and instruments for clinical use, according to Marca.

The raid was undertaken with the help of the National Anti doping Council, according to a Police communiqué. Officials didn't announce the team which was under investigation, however sport journal A Bola announced that the JP inspected the plants of the team LA MSS in Póvoa de Varzim.

The newspaper claimed there's a connection between the raids and the team's victories in the Subida al Naranco, the Vuelta a Asturias and the Gran Premio Rota dos Móveis. The JP indicated that "the investigations will go on" and that the operation is not closed.

Portuguese Cycling federation (FPC) president Artur Lopes said he was "deeply" disappointed that doping material had been found in the raid. Lopes indicated that the affair "escapes the sport domain", because the FPC could take disciplinal measures if it has been "a positive doping control, but as this was not the case, it will be affair of the justice".

Póvoa de Varzim mayor Macedo Vieira announced the local city council could seek damages from the team. The council is a sponsor of the outfit and could seek a refund on its 200000 Euro investment.

LA MSS has made headlines in recent weeks following the death of one of its riders. 26 year-old Bruno Neves passed away after a crash in the Gran Premio de Amarante earlier this month.

Neves autopsy raises questions

On the same day LA MSS had its headquarters raided by Police, questions have surfaced over the death of rider Bruno Neves. The 26 year-old passed away while contesting the Grande Prémio de Amarante earlier this month.

Portuguese publication Record.pt has reported that its source inside the Police department said the rider died of cardiac arrest. While a report is yet to be made official, the article alleges that Neves suffered from the heart problem while riding which caused the crash.

The rider crashed around 40 kilometres into the Portugese Cup race. Medical teams attended to the rider immediately, but he died on route to the hospital.

Neves was one of Portugal's best up-and-coming sprinters. He was fifth in the Vuelta a Rioja last month and also had a victory in the Tour of Portugal. The tragedy came just a day after the anniversary of the death of famous Portugese cyclist Joaquim Agostinho, winner of a Tour de France stage to Alpe d'Huez, who died in on May 10, 1984.

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